Defendant Earns GED through JCS Program


The efforts of a group of JCS and community members in Osceola County are starting to pay off. This November JCS is proud to celebrate the first GED earned by a member the free adult education program.

Started in 2010, this program assists people in preparing for a test to obtain the equivalent of a high school diploma. It utilizes a combination of live instruction and assistance with self-guided studies through McGraw Hill software in Osceola’s ten seat JCS computer lab. The services are free for any person without a high school diploma or GED.

“This is a great program for the community,” said program instructor Ramon Rodriguez, “it shows that we want to give back to them.”

Mr. Henderson, the program’s first graduate completed and passed all of the required coursework and tests, so he was able to obtain a voucher to take the Florida GED Tests for free as well.

Dennis Moon noticed a distinct need for this kind of assistance in the Osceola area while working with probationers. He quickly discerned that defendants without high-school education had more difficulty finding adequate employment and were more likely to end up back in the probation office for another charge.

These observations are backed up outside of the probation office as well. According to statistics release by the US Census Bureau in 2010, the average pay for full-time workers with a high school diploma or equivalent education was 64% higher than that of the average pay for those with no high school and 23% higher than the average pay for those with only some high school. In addition, while the average unemployment rate in 2010 was published as 8.2%, people without a diploma or equivalent education experienced an average of 14.9% unemployment. Thus, Moon took the time to gather the information and resources to develop the program to start in Osceola County.

Today the free adult education program is flourishing with a class near capacity and its first graduate. “It’s been amazing to see an idea become a reality,” said Moon, “I have been working in the probation field for over a decade and it has been my goal to prove to the public that we are here to do more than simply supervise people, to make a difference in their lives and their families lives and when I saw that we helped a person get their GED, I felt that we can achieve that goal.”